Law 101

Liens and Foreclosures

Liens and deeds of trust (mortgages) are placed on real estate as a method of “securing” the debt by giving creditors an avenue to collect if the debtors fail to pay. They can be voluntary, such as a promissory note with deed of trust, or they can be involuntary, such as a lien placed on property after the creditor wins a lawsuit. Liens can also be placed on personal property in some cases.

Foreclosure most commonly occurs when a property owner misses mortgage payments. These types of foreclosures in California do not require a court case, but the lender must follow very specific, detailed procedures. When the property owner is a homeowner, there are special protections and options under the California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights, the National Mortgage Settlement, the federal Making Home Affordable programs, and other laws. Foreclosure may also occur when creditors force the sale of property and collect what they are owed out of the proceeds.

Community Resources

Foreclosure Foreclosure Help
NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center
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The Sacramento County Public Law Library has prepared forms for some common situations relating to real property. For other situations, you may need to create your own forms, or obtain forms from the Sacramento County Recorder or Assessor. Our Legal Research Guides and Step by Steps have instructions and samples for many commonly-used forms.

Pleading Paper Homesteads and Liens
Signing for keys Making Home Affordable This page lists documents that your mortgage company may require for modification.

Research Guides

The Law Librarians have created these research guides as an aid for those starting a legal research project. These guides recommend print and electronic resources that will help you find answers to your law-related questions. Many of these guides provide step-by-step information, as well as sample forms, for common legal procedures.

Common Questions

The Law Librarians write articles on a variety of common legal questions.

Related Websites

Home Mortgages
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